Maria Lucia 'Lucy' Ortega Gonzales

Dec. 13, 1936 - Jul. 17, 2021

Date of Service: Jul. 26, 2021

BURLEY – Maria Lucia “Lucy” Ortega Gonzales, age 84, passed away peacefully, in the home of her daughter, Saturday, July 17, 2021, surrounded by all her children and many grandchildren.

She was born December 13, 1936, in Del Norte, Colorado, to her parents, Maria Carmela Martinez Ortega and Mabelise Ortega. Lucia went to school with her sister, with whom she was extremely close, Sabina Ortega Sisneros. The two sisters were in the same class. The two sisters graduated from Del Norte High School in 1957. Through school, she worked as a house cleaner and other jobs like wrapping presents at department stores during the holidays.

After graduation, she left Del Norte, Colorado, and moved to Burley, Idaho, to attend cosmetology school and she lived with her brother, David Medina. After her brother’s divorce, David was left to raise his five young children alone with help of Lucy. The five young children all still consider Lucy as a second mother.

In 1966, she was courted by a handsome Texas sheep shearer, Rogelio “Roy” Gonzales, and fell in love. The two were married January 25, 1967, and started their family. They were married for 44 years until Roy’s death in 2011, but her love for him never died and she looked forward to the day they would be reunited in heaven. They had three daughters, Maria Oralia Lorenzana (married to Enrique C.Lorenzana), Sonia Kathleen Ramirez (married to Efren Ramirez), and Carolina Gonzales, unmarried. They had two sons, Roy S. Gonzales (married to Molly Gonzales), and Erby Gonzales (married to Jessa Gonzales). Roy and Lucy were proud grandparents to 22 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

Lucy was a working mother bringing in income to the family. She opened up her own salon in downtown Burley, which was quite the accomplishment for a Hispanic woman in rural Idaho, and all done while raising her young children. She also brought in income by working in the fields, and as a teaching assistant. Her strong work ethic was a model for her children and nieces and nephews. They grew up watching their mother and she included those kids in working in the fields and also collecting cans for recycling.

While being a working wife and mother, she found the fortitude to pursue her education. In 1982, she graduated from Idaho State University and became a teacher for the Cassia County School District. In 1992, she received a masters of bilingual education from Boise State University. As part of that master’s program, she was able to travel and study abroad in Mexico. She was the first of the Ortega family and the Gonzales family to receive a master’s degree. Lucy set the high standard for her family and was the inspiration for many members of her family to also receive advanced degrees. But, she was the first.

Lucy was a loved teacher and touched the lives of many generations of students in the Burley area. She taught at Overland Elementary School and then later at Mountain View Elementary for the last year of her career. Not only did she teach 3rd grade, but she also taught ELS classes to parents of students at night to help them learn English. She could not run errands or shop for groceries without running into her old students and always remembered their names and never forgot a face. Every child that sat in her class was her student for life.

For fun, she enjoyed music, dancing, bowling in the local teachers’ league, and keeping up with dear friends from church and the school district. Lucy also loved crochet and made blankets for all her grandchildren. She was a big Boise State Bronco football fan and never missed a game. She loved traveling to visit family in Del Norte, Colorado, and Albuquerque, New Mexico, Bakersfield, California, and Uvalde, Texas. But, wherever her children and grandchildren were, that was where she was the most happy.

The family expresses their sincere appreciation to Minidoka Home Health and Horizon Home Health & Hospice for the kindness they have shown to our mother.

A vigil service will be held from 4 until 6 p.m. Sunday, July 25, with the rosary beginning at 5 p.m.

The funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Monday, July 26.

The rosary and funeral Mass will be held at St. Therese the Little Flower Catholic Church, located at 1601 Oakley Ave., in Burley. Celebrating the Mass will be the Rev. Father Enrique Terriquez. Burial will follow at Gem Memorial Gardens in Burley.

Arrangements have been placed in the care of Rasmussen-Wilson Funeral Home of Burley.